Serengeti National Park Activities
Serengeti National Park is one of the most popular and sought after tourist destination for tourists on Tanzania safaris who would want to have great activities to undertake. The Serengeti is home to a large variety of wildlife and fauna as well as the Great wildebeest migration that is part of the world’s ten natural wonders. Serengeti National Park is in the Serengeti ecosystem and covers an area of about 1,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest and woodlands. The park is situated in the northwestern Tanzania bordered by the Kenyan border where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. With its vastness, the park is usually described as divided into three regions and these are the Serengeti Plains, Western corridor and the Northern Serengeti.
History has it that the Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains of eastern Mar Region which they named “endless plains” for around 200 years by the time the first European Explorer Oscar Baumann visited the area in 1892. In the Maasai dialect, the word siringet which they used to describe the area means “the place where the land runs on forever”. By 1913, the first American visited Serengeti and recorded his explorations in the northern Serengeti. He returned in 1920’s and camped around the Seronera area shooting about 50 lions during this time which made them scarce. Following these events, the British colonial administration made an 800 acres partial game reserve in the area by 1921 and a full game reserve in 1929. These actions of conservation are what later led to the formation of the Serengeti National Park.
Activities in Serengeti National Park
- Wildlife Game drives
Renowned for its majestic wildlife, Serengeti National Park is a great ultimate game drive destination for any African safari. There are over 2,500 lions and more than one million wildebeest that roam the Serengeti plains. With the large size of the Serengeti tourists should be aware that the park cannot be explored in a single day but may require at least 4 days to explore each section of the park.
Always plan accordingly on what you want to see such that your game drive is planned accordingly based on where you can see what you want to see. Some of the other amazing predators in the park include the cheetah, leopards, hyena, jackals and a ton of lions. The big four of the popular big five African game can be seen here, these are lions, leopards, Buffaloes and Elephants.
From the Serengeti visitor center, tourists can learn a lot of information about the park and the ecosystem at large. Hundreds of the rock hyraxes can be seen along this wildlife path including the brightly colored agama lizards.
A night game drive is some other safari experience tourists should consider in order to have extra ordinary experiences. The night game drive allows a unique opportunity to spot a number of nocturnal animals such as civets, bush babies, nightjars and aardvarks. This is done just within specific spots in the Serengeti National Park.
- Witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration
Wildebeest migration is an annual event where about one and a half million wildebeest accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebra and numerous antelope species move in search for greener pastures. Their movement covers about 500 kilometers moving mostly in a clockwise direction from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. The river crossing of Grumeti and Mara rivers happens as the wildebeest head back north wards the Mara. This is in the late March or April and May as the long rains set in.
Birthing of their young ones usually happens in the southern Serengeti near the areas of Ndutu, Gol and southern Loliondo where there is short grass plains. This usually happens between February and March within a span of just 4-6 weeks with several hundred thousand calves born in this period. Wildebeest birth attracts predators and therefore that’s why there is a lot of dramatic predator action during this time.
- Maasai Cultural tour
The Serengeti ecosystem has been home to the Maasai semi-nomadic people for centuries. The Maasai live in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya along the Great Rift Valley. Their continued engagement in their traditional ways of life and their distinctive traditional clothing make a visit to their villages memorable.
Maasai villages visit welcomes in visitors to learn about their customs, traditions and lifestyles. Visits to the Maasai villages or bomas last about an hour or less with a brief dancing ceremony, visit to the traditional boma made of sticks, mud and cow dung, visit to the village schools and craft village. This is the best opportunity to buy yourself an authentic African souvenir from the locals and support their conservation efforts.
- Visit Oduvai Gorge & Kopjes
The Olduvi or Odupai Gorge is one of the most ancient and historical spots to visit during a Tanzania wildlife safari. This site is the famous spot where archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey discovered human fossils and tools dating back to over 2 million years ago. Fossil remains of over 60 hominids (human ancestors) have been found in this area making it one of the most important pale anthropological sites in the world. It is a convenient stop for tourists traveling between the Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti National Park.
The Kopjes are granite rocks that stand out in the Serengeti Plains and add to the already spectacular flat grassland. They offer perfect places to see wildlife like the lions, cheetahs and reptiles.
- Hot Air balloon
Besides the popular game drives as a way of seeing wildlife in the Serengeti National Park, a hot air balloon experience is a memorable way of exploring the Serengeti. Have a different perspective of the wildlife and the vast plains on the hot air balloon as you have a bird eye’s view of the park.
Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s oldest national park and remains the major draw card of the country’s tourism industry and the major lead for the northern safari circuit safaris. Other parks in the northern Tanzania circuit include the Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Jewel safaris plans all forms of tours to Tanzania and can help offer the best recommendations. For primate tours or more wildlife safaris in Africa, we recommend Kenya safaris, Rwanda gorilla tours, Uganda gorilla safaris and chimpanzee trekking either in Rwanda or Uganda.